Industry News

Gun drilling optimises mould tool sets

Looking at tasks from a new perspective can yield significant benefits, which is why specialist engineering company, Birmingham-based GB Precision sometimes chooses to use gun drilling as part of its machining strategy, even when it may not be the most obvious solution. On one recent occasion, the decision to use this technology resulted in the reduction of components in a tool set from three parts to one, obtaining considerable overall cost and time savings for the customer. 

As the name suggests, gun drilling is a process that produces deep, straight holes, and has its origins in the manufacture of gun barrels. Even though it is now quite widely used, particularly in the oil and gas sectors, GB director Paul Turner thinks it has plenty to offer in other situations, including prototype and pre-production work for the aerospace and medical sectors, as well as for engineering mould tools.   

Gun drills differ from conventional drills in several critical respects; in their single cutting-edge head geometry, in their use of guide pads to maintain hole straightness, in the insertion of high-pressure coolant through the spindle and gun-drill centre, and in the removal of chips through a groove on the outside edge of the drill. 

“One of the reasons we choose to use gun drilling is the extreme precision we obtain – it completely solves the issue of drills wandering during the machining operation,” says Turner. “For this reason we have used it to drill holes through narrow sections, close to walls or other embedded features.”

The company undertakes gun drilling on a variety of standard and exotic materials, with hole diameters from 1 to 10 mm, and depths of 30xD or more.

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